Speaker: Dr. Benjamin Elman, Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, Princeton University
Discussion facilitator: Dr. Mark Miller, Assistant Professor, St. Ignatius Institute, University of San Francisco
When Europeans reached China during the age of exploration, they encountered different scientific explanations for natural phenomena. European scientia, represented by the specialized branches of Aristotelian moral and natural philosophy, encountered in China the naturalistic concepts of yin-yang, qi, and the classical ideal of the six arts.
This lecture will examine early modern scientific texts translated jointly by
Christian missionaries and Chinese literati. These translations were not simply
byproducts of the missionary enterprise, but texts encoded with Christian
messages and religiously-induced silences written in classical Chinese. The
focus is not on translation as a futile exercise in philosophical
incommensurability, but on the use of Christian beliefs in scientific textbooks
translated into Chinese.
Third lecture in a series on Faith and Reason: the Jesuit Legacy in East-West Scientific Exchange funded in part by the USF Jesuit Foundation. Co-sponsored
by the USF Ricci Institute and the USF St. Ignatius Institute.